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Play to be premiered in aid of Beccles church porch appeal

PUBLISHED: 08:30 17 July 2016

The Decibells bell ringing team

The Decibells bell ringing team

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The play by a Beccles bell-ringer will be premiered at St Michael's Church next weekend to help raise money for the Pounds for the Porch project.

Janet Wright, who is a member of handbell ringers Decibells has written Beccles Races and the Great Bell Drama inspired by an 1856 scandal when the then rector refused to let the bells ring for reinstatement of racing on Beccles Common.

It also features events described by bell-ringer Henry Reynolds in the diary he kept between 1887 and 1921.

Performers will be joined by year 10 drama students from Sir John Leman High School, who will take on the acting roles during the unique entertainment.

And in addition to the Decibells team, current St Michael’s tower bell ringers will ring both live to introduce the play and recorded during the drama itself.

Mrs Wright said: “Henry’s diary is fascinating. The bells marked the church year and were rung on national occasions like Queen Victoria’s Jubilee and victories at war as you’d expect, but more intriguing in a way is all the local colour and gossip they contain.

“Of course the town’s births, deaths and weddings feature regularly, but a recurring theme is drink, both in the numerous pubs the ringers visited with their handbells and in the tower itself, where the infamous Gotch was regularly filled with ale.

“Sadly the original of Henry’s diary has been lost, but the Gotch is still safe in the tower – though probably not robust enough to swig from!”

The play will start at 2pm next Saturday, July 23.

Entry is free with all donations going to Pounds For The Porch and refreshments will be served by the Friends of St Michael’s.

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